Campaigns For Fossil Fuels Under Fire
Representatives Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Katie Porter (D-CA) have requested documents from five public relations firms and the American Petroleum Institute (API) detailing their work for fossil fuel companies.
Porter and Grijalva wrote to the American Petroleum Institute, FTI Consulting, Story Partners, DDC Advocacy, Blue Advertising and Singer Associates asking for all documents regarding the firms’ campaigns for oil, gas and coal companies. The House Natural Resources Committee expects those documents by June 27.
The request stems from an undercover video last year when former Exxon Mobil lobbyist Keith McCoy said that the company only backed a carbon tax for cheap publicity and never pushed lawmakers for such a policy.
“The Committee seeks greater understanding of this cooperation among industry, trade associations and PR firms to influence public opinion and policymaking in ways that prevent the United States from addressing the climate crisis,” said Raul Grijalva (D-AZ).
Grijalva is the Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. He cited additional comments made by the Exxon lobbyist where he explained that the energy giant has used shadow groups and front groups to cast doubt on the reality of climate change.
“Thanks to the accidental truth-telling by the former ExxonMobil lobbyist, we know there is a lot to uncover about the ways fossil fuel companies spread disinformation and lies about climate change,” Grijalva said. “If we’re going to take meaningful action against climate change, we need to be armed with facts and science, not industry propaganda. The American people deserve to know the truth.”
The call for information is the latest step in an ongoing campaign to see agencies cut ties with the world’s biggest polluters. In January, more than 450 scientists called on PR and advertising firms to stop working with fossil fuel companies. The effort was coordinated in partnership with the Union of Concerned Scientists and Clean Creatives, an ad and PR industry advocacy organization which, in November, launched a high-profile celebrity and influencer campaign calling on Edelman to drop fossil fuel clients, most notably ExxonMobil.
“I’m thrilled to see some of these PR firms taken to task for putting profits over people and the planet,” said Gary Chandler, CEO of Crossbow Communications, a PR firm with offices in Denver and Phoenix. “PR firms, lobbyists and public officials all need to find their compass right now. Climate change is an existential issue. Solutions begin with the truth.”
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